Last Thursday was Mrs. America pageant in Las Vegas and this week, Ms. America in California. Since I just got married last month, I’ve been reflecting about how weddings and pageants are similar in so many ways. What goes into the big day of a wedding, from the planning to the emotional rollercoaster is an incredible training ground for the big day of a pageant. And, I discovered that my 10 years of pageant competitions really prepared me for my wedding.
In this episode, I’m going to break down the top 10 skills you learn at your wedding to prepare you for your pageant…. Or vice-versa. So, whether you are planning your wedding or planning a competition, this episode will help you identify some elements of importance and give you permission to let go of the stuff that doesn’t truly matter. Seriously, people.
1. Maintaining stamina for a full week.
You’ll need stamina to stay excited and high-energy for a full week. The activities of the wedding week are intense. Family and friends are in town, you have to finalize a bunch of details, get your nails, tan, wax, make up, and hair done multiple times there are plenty of rehearsals, get-togethers and parties. Things like sleep, healthy foods, lots of water and a massage will help dramatically.
2. Wardrobe organization
Your wardrobe must be well organized. With the various wedding festivities leading up to the big day bachelorette party, the shower, the rehearsal you’ll have to be well organized with clothes and accessories that are season-appropriate, comfortable and photograph well. Plus, organizing it all to be sure you have everything right where you need it during the chaos is key. Pageant week is no different: you have to pack with a purpose because last-minute decisions are not an option.
3. So many little things go differently than planned.
The good news is that you either don’t notice, don’t remember or don’t care. At our wedding, my groom forgot to bring his pants! Fortunately, we were ahead of schedule so it didn’t matter. He sent a friend home for them and everything was fine, I didn’t even notice. I forgot the marriage license and no one cared, we just signed it later. Our bar ran out of alcohol so our planner had to make a shopping trip and our guests never noticed. In pageantry, I’ve seen broken earrings, fake nails falling off, snagged dresses, broken steamers, talent music gone wrong… no matter what – the show must go on and trust me, no one will notice, remember or care.
4. Performing without getting everything done.
You’ll have a well organized list of everything you want to get done before the and you’ll only get half of it done. And even though you won’t have time to stretch, do a nasal rinse, take your daily vitamins, or meditate, the day will go on and you’ll still perform fabulously!
5. Going over budget.
Things cost more and take longer than you expect. You’ll decide on getting two gifts for your groom because you just can’t decide and he has to have the watch and the fancy photo album, or your guests may break your $300 rented decor and it’ll cost you an additional $500 to replace it. In pageantry, you may have to buy an unexpected cocktail dress, or pay extra to have your hair done backstage. The only way to plan is to budget a buffer amount and then just chalk it up to celebrating life!
6. Hiring a team and delegating.
You need to hire a team you trust so you can delegate & relinquish responsibility, because whether it’s a wedding or a pageant, you can’t do it all. You have so much to focus on and the easier your job is that day, the better! Outsource everything I even outsourced my bridal bouquet. I called a floral shop I trusted, told the owner my vision and showed her my dress and asked her to surprise me. It turned out beautifully and I didn’t have to bother spending hours pinning bouquet photos to a sharable board. Have your sister drive you, buy the photos and dvd from the professionals, hire the professional make up artist and pay them whatever they ask for because they will be saving you tons of time and energy. Then, give everyone a timeline and trust them to do their job so you can do yours.
7. Smiling all day, even if you’re exhausted.
Being a bride is like being a pageant winner you have to managing the limelight gracefully. Everyone wants photos and everyone wants to spend time with you on your big day. Everyone is on your side so let them share their love and soak it up! Be humbly grateful they are there to celebrate you and show your gratitude every way you can to as many people as you can. Just know that social media will have your face all over it, so smile up sister! On your big day, it becomes easy to be exhausted and still happy.
8. Walking the line of have to and making up your own rules.
Before your day, you have to know what your goals are and who or what matters most to you. At my wedding, it was all about my husband and connecting with the people we love the most. We chose to skip the fancy sit-down dinner and opt for more dancing time. We offered lounge seating instead of round tables to facilitate conversations. We invited an intimate group of people that we knew would be a part of our lives for the long term and not all the work colleagues, clients and second cousins. We didn’t do a bouquet toss, garter grab or cake cutting and opted to show a video of our love story that included our friends and family as reception entertainment.
One of the greatest decisions we made was to skip the whole bridal party’ thing… And ya know what? The people in our lives that truly are our dearest friends stepped up to the plate in various ways and contributed so generously without being asked. Two of my girlfriends hosted a bridal shower, another planned my bachelorette party, and others flew across the country for only a few days to be there when we said I do. That is true, lasting friendship! I ignored conventional wedding wisdom and wore a jersey knit Jovani lace gown, which I got at Prevue 30 days before my wedding and it was the perfect dress for me! In pageantry just like your wedding, you’ll make choices that will irritate some and thrill others.
Be unapologetically you and those that truly care
for you will be delighted to delight in you!
9. Soaking up the memories on a day that flies by.
The big day goes by so fast, mostly because you are darting from appointment to appointment and every moment is scheduled from make up to sunset photos. For me, it was not only that but I was also so freakin’ tired that it was like the day of the living dead and I felt blacked-out for a lot of it. I was so grateful for my dear friends like Claudia, Rachel, Christy and Michelle that pulled me aside from the chaos to truly connect and soak up the moment of actually sharing this time together. I was grateful to Diamond and Carlos for capturing live moments on Facebook that I got to watch later, too! And to my husband Randy for swinging me around the dance floor! It goes so fast, you have to really stop yourself and take a deep breath to fill up on all the glory of the moment whether it’s an I do or a crowning moment.
10. Remaining the leader of it all.
You may want to have everyone pamper you and carry you from place to place and let you take a nap and pay for everything, but you are still the team leader and they are looking to you for direction. As the bride or the pageant queen you are in charge of managing, communicating with and leading your team. They will text you several times when you are at your busiest moments. It is your job to confirm, your job to remember, your job to communicate, and your job to set the tone. Whatever energy you bring will be matched by your team. If you freak out that the groom forgot his pants, they will. If you remain calm and say, Ha! Good thing we’re early! then they’ll all relax, too. The more focused and delighted you are the more they will reflect that energy. As a leader, you have to behave how you want others to behave. If you are able to remain focused and controlled enough to manage and lead your team, you’ll experience one of the best days of your life!
That, my dear, is how you win a pageant.
Thank you for joining me for this reflection of my wedding experience. I now completely understand why my Mrs. clients are never bent outta shape about the small things. They never curl up into a tiny ball when they don’t win. Because they learned during their wedding that days like this are beautiful and wonderful because at the end of it all win or lose you’re still deeply and unconditionally loved.
For more great pageant training, enroll in the Free Pageant Course